Metro Funding: Va. Should Contribute $180 Million

Metro Funding: Va. Should Contribute $180 Million

Last week we shared the joint statement of 18 non-profits thanking Virginia legislators for proposing $65 million (+$65 million from NoVA) but making the case that Virginia, DC, and Maryland should do more to Close the Gap. Failure to fully close the gap will mean service cuts, fare hikes, and delays to important capital projects.

As a follow-up, please see our Coalition for Smarter Growth case for Virginia providing a combined $180 million as its fair share to fully close the gap. With our partners we will be pressing DC and Maryland to increase their commitments as well ($209 million for Md, $275 million for DC).

Virginia is currently offering $65 million for FY25 and $84.5 million for FY26, to be matched 50/50 by Northern Virginia localities, for a total of $130 million in FY25 and $169 million in FY26. We thank officials for this commitment.

However, this will not fully close the WMATA operating gap, meaning some service cuts, fare increases, and delays to capital projects as capital funds are used to pay for preventative maintenance.

$180 million would be Virginia’s share to fully close the WMATA operating gap, with another $209 million from Maryland, and $275 million from DC.

The state is proposing $1.3B or more in bonds and $200 million or more in capital transportation spending for the proposed Wizards/Capitals arena in Alexandria.

The state is proposing huge sums for additional expansion of I-81.

Northern Virginia is still the strongest share of Virginia’s economy and tax base, and Metro is critical to the economy and tax base, generating about $1 billion in annual personal income and sales tax revenue to the state. The half mile around Metrorail stations comprised just 3% of the land but contains 30% of the property value, 40% of jobs, 50% of new apartments, and 65% of new office development.

A large share of the workforce continues to depend on Metrorail and Metrobus to reach their jobs, and Metro supports the Washington DC region’s large tourism industry. They will be impacted by fare hikes and service cuts.

For these reasons, Virginia should combine with Northern Virginia for $180 million as its formula share to fully close the WMATA budget gap.